It is with heavy hearts that we must relay the news that founding Studio Tour member Brian Mantrop has passed away. Brian and his wife Kathy were founding members of the Westport Fall Colours studio tour. He was a beloved artist and friend to many. He will be dearly missed.
Here is his obituary as printed in the Westport Review Mirror:
Artist and photographer Brian Mantrop, 63, died November 17, 2014 in Kingston after a two year illness with esophageal cancer. He became well-known in the local community and beyond for his unique photographic art and his home, the Enchanted Forest Studio, which he shared with his wife and partner Kathy Cashman.
Brian grew up in Kingston and studied physics and geology at Queen’s before finding his path as a world traveler and artist. Between trips he and Kathy enjoyed their property on McAndrews Road south of Westport where their one-room cabin evolved into a unique off-the-grid home sheltered by a rock outcrop. Their studio was a popular destination for guest artists and visitors on the Fall Colours studio tour of which they were founding members. Their home was filmed for the television show, Weird Homes, which ended up serving as a record of the unique structure which was destroyed in a house fire in 2000.
After the fire the couple stayed closer to home and enjoyed all that winter had to offer in the forest. By the next year the home was rebuilt and the couple was back on the tour. “This is where our heart is. Brian’s spirit is here. We loved it here. We skied. We swam. We had beautiful land around us,” said his wife.
Photographs from their travels formed much of the basis of Mantrop’s art which combined photographic transparencies which in juxtaposition created new worlds. Mantrop’s work evolved after some slides got damp and developed fungus on the emulsion. Ten years later he had a second challenge after the fire created further damage to his collection of slides.
Besides his individual works his art lives on in his books Talking to the Other World; Life is a Journey with people and a book he completed last year, Nature’s Voice. Mantrop never had a lack of creative things to do whether it was work on their home, photography or gardening. “We shared a lot of that with people. He loved life. He was always smiling. He was always very open to people. We had a lot of good times with people passing through,” said Cashman.
He will be deeply missed by his family including his wife Kathy; his brothers Stan (Cathie) and Dave and his nephew and niece Michael and Shannon. His life will be celebrated at a memorial in June 2015 at the Enchanted Forest.